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Pennsylvania 30, Us 17, Washington 16, Peterson 11, United States 9, Casey 8, Nebraska 8, Bush 7, New Jersey 6, Philadelphia 6, Greenaway 5, U.s. 5, Mr. Reid 5, United States Senate 4, Mr. Baucus 4, Joseph A. Greenaway 4, Mr. Durbin 4, Mr. Lautenberg 3, Spokane 3, America 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    January 25, 2010
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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anymore. the american people want us to tworkt. they do. they -- work together. they do. they want us to work together. and they don't want messaging and backroom deals that favor one group or another. americans always hear from politicians about how they will work for bipartisan solutions to america's problems that will strengthen our future. how many times have they heard that on the floor of this senate? well, mr. president, here's the opportunity for members of the senate, the house, and president obama to show when they make such statements, they are serious. mr. president, i came here in 1999, and one of the major reasons i came here was to deal with paying down our nation's debt and balancing budgets. i can remember back in 2000, i was the only republican that voted against the republican
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legislation to reduce taxes because i said that money should be used to pay down debt. i'm leaving the senate at the end of this year, as is the president. i have three children and seven grandchildren, and the wife of my youngest son peter is expecting their first child. i have always believed that it's my responsibility to try and leave this world and particularly our nation in better shape than how i found it. it was something that was ingrained in my -- my first generation parents. george, you have a responsibility to leave this country a better place than which you found it. i am running out of time to do something. mr. president, so is the country. on too many occasions, congress has been unwilling to experience short-term pain to achieve long-term gain.
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we have been unvillage to do without or pay for things that many folks have wanted us to do. our nation has put the financial costs of the two wars on the credit card even while the soldiers and their families continue to bear the human costs of these wars. to me, a lack of effective action is absolutely immoral. it's absolutely immoral. i recently talked to my oldest son george, the father of four beautiful girls, who genuinely feels there will be no social security for him, that medicare may not be there either, and he understands that the global competition facing his generation and his daughters' generation is greater than at any other time in our nation's history. the global competition is greater than at any other time in this nation's history, and
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that the burden that we have created because of our fiscal irresponsibility brings into question whether his children will enjoy the same opportunity for a standard of living that we have had. mr. president, i said in the beginning of my speech i believe the issues this amendment is designed to address, our national debt and deficits as far as the eye can see, can two of the most important issues congress and our nation face. our failure to address these issues will damage our economy, our nation's security, peace in the world, and the kind of future that we leave to our children and grandchildren. mr. president, the future of our nation is in our hands. the future of our nation is in the hands of these 100 senators here, and i pray that the holy spirit will inspire -- the holy spirit will come down and
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inspire us to make the right decision. my two models have been over the years together we can do it, and ohio's motto, "with god, all things are possible." working together on a bipartisan basis, and with god's help, i'm positive that we can solve our problems, meet our challenges, and take advantage of the opportunities before us. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent to speak for five minutes on the judicial nomination that's coming before us at 6:00. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: mr. president, i rise this evening in support of president rosanna malouf peterson. -- of professor rosanna malouf peterson. she is a distinguished law professor and attorney. she is a woman who enjoys broad bipartisan support, and she deserves a seat on the federal
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bench. mr. president, i was very pleased to introduce professor peterson before the judiciary committee last november and meet her and her family. i thought it was telling of the type of nominee she is that so many of her current and former students were there to support her confirmation. tonight, i'm honored to recommend that the senate confirm professor peterson as a district court judge for the eastern district of my home state. professor peterson has strong bipartisan support with good reason. she has devoted her career to serving the interests of justice and to instilling those values in a future generation of leaders. professor peterson is a graduate of the university of north dakota where she earned her bachelor's, master's, and law degrees. after law school, she started her legal career in the chambers of judge fred vansickle in spokane. this is the very same seat that she has now been nominated to
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fill. during her distinguished career, professor peterson has worked as an attorney in spokane area law firms for corporate and individual clients. she has worked in private practice, often representing teachers, and she has worked as a court-appointed representative for criminal defendants in state and federal court. since 1999, professor peterson has been a law professor at the gonzaga law school in spokane where she is an assistant professor of law and director of the law school's externship program. at the same time, professor peterson has maintained her private practice where she continued to work with federal defendants on a pro bono or reduced fee basis. professor peterson has also played a leadership role in the washington legal community, including serving as president of the federal bar association of eastern washington, president of the washington women lawyers bar association, and on the judicial selection committee that helped recommend a
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magistrate judge in 2003. in recognition of her service in 2006, she was awarded the submit moore meyers professionalism award, the spokane county bar association's highest honor. mr. president, professor peterson's accomplishments stand for themselves, but i have also received numerous letters and emails testifying to her toughness, her work ethic, her understanding of the law, and her advocacy on behalf of her clients. i've also received many letters from her former students and the people she has men toward, taught, and befriended over the years, letters that all say she has made a difference in the lives of so many in my state. she clearly meets the standards of fairness, of evenhandedness, and adherence to the law that we expect of our federal judges. outside of her many professional credentials, i have been impressed by her professionalism
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and her decency. i know i speak on behalf of a large number in the washington state legal community in supporting the nomination of rosanna peterson to be the next district judge for the eastern district of washington. and i do think it's also important to note for all of my colleagues that professor peterson's nomination was the product of a bipartisan selection committee that we use in my home state of washington. to get to where we are with this confirmation vote, the commission was formed and did much of its work on professor peterson under the previous administration. it has proven that it works as -- even as we have moved from one administration to the next, so i'm proud to have created that selection commission and believe it is something that has served our state and our federal judiciary as well. therefore, it's my pleasure to recommend my colleagues confirm a great lawyer, a teacher, and a mentor who i believe will make an exceptional federal judge, and i urge my colleagues this
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evening to vote for the confirmation of professor rosanna peterson as the next district judge for ther. presidi yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. nelson: i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business for up to eight minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, i rise today to discuss a serious problem with the way that washington has done business for years. the problem is its habit of passing unfunded federal mandates on to the states that throw state budgets into disarray. everyone in congress has to decide how to best look out for their state, and a little over a month ago, i decided to look out for all of those states and mine, too, but the efforts i made to protect my state and all other states should not be the issue. the issue should be why wasn't everyone taking steps to protect their states? and why weren't the critics reacting to the real issue
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rather than coining names to describe this effort to protect state budgets from the effects of yet another unfunded federal mandate? the reason is that all along, they wanted to derail health reform. misrepresenting this issue would help that goal. so it was too easy, too convenient to come up with a catchy name and to impugn motives. it was too easy, too convenient to ignore the problem facing nebraska and every other state. another mandate without money. unfunded federal mandates aren't just bad for nebraska. they're bad for all states, from sea to shining sea. they are a fiscal injustice that i have fought for two decades. during my tenure as a senator and through two terms as governor. they are a burden on the states that i'll keep fighting to eliminate as long as they continue. unfunded federal mandates are really pretty simple, but they
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appear in many unexpected and unwanted ways. there are orders that arrive in washington on state capitol doorsteps with too little or no money to carry them out. unfunded federal mandates force states all across our country into no-win choices. cut spending on state priorities or raise revenue with tax hikes. they are a fiscal injustice states that -- that states have no option to avoid. as a united states senator, i've said that i'll put nebraska first, nebraska always, but not nebraska only. that remains the case with questions about how the senate health care bill dealt with an underfunded mandate for expanding medicaid. first, my goal has always been to draw attention to and fix with one approach or another any unfunded federal mandate that would be passed on to every
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state through the senate's health care bill. the bill sought to expand medicaid to provide health insurance to millions of americans who do not have it today. the federal government would pay 100% of the costs for the first three years through 2016. 2017 and thereafter, states would have to pick up a portion of the costs. in other words, they would pay for a new unfunded federal mandate. so i sought an opt-in or opt-out for all states to ease the federal unfunded mandate, but because there was no congressional budget office analysis for that approach, a provision was placed into the bill for nebraska. it's not something i sought. it's something i accepted to launch the larger battle against the unfunded mandate affecting all states. i've taken criticism over this issue, and if i have received it because i drew attention to unfunded federal mandates, fine, but the larger question is how
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do we in congress eliminate this practice of passing these mandates on to the states? rather than criticize me, others should stop -- should join in fighting the war to stop all of these burdens on the states. it's an effort i would welcome the governors to join in, too, for they have a direct interest in the success of this battle. the nebraska provision was a victory in the battle against unfunded mandates necessary to win the war. what otherwise had gone completely unaddressed is now part of the debate. not only in the nation's capitol, but in state capitals across america. we only have to look back a few years to see what trouble unfunded mandates cause for states. when congress passed the no child left behind act, it was hailed as a landmark that would improve education nationwide, establish new standards to measure educational achievement in our schools, and required states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all
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students in certain grades. states had to make sure that happened for their schools that received federal aid, but the law provided far too little money to meet its requirements. this was a fact acknowledged by a chief sponsor, the late senator kennedy. he said, and i quote -- "the tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not." boy, was that ever a true statement. states have paid and paid and are still paying for that whopper of an unfunded mandate. in fact, no child left behind, which i oppose, largely because of its being an unfunded federal mandate has caused -- cost my state of nebraska nebraska $382.7 million. nationwide, it's cost all of the states a total of $70.9 billion from 2002-2008. according to the u.s. department
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of education data. those costs have just kept piling up ever since, and that's not right. i thought another unfunded federal mandate in the 2003 major tax cut bill. at the time, cutting federal taxes would also have forced cuts in state taxes. that, in turn, would have blown holes in state budgets, so i teamed up on a bipartisan basis with my colleague, senator collins from maine and senator rockefeller from west virginia, to help the states. and we won a provision to provided $25 billion in federal funding to the states to make up for the lost money they needed to pay their ongoing medicaid costs. today, here we are again hearing from financially strapped states across the country asking for additional federal money to pay for other previous unfunded medicaid mandates. i don't blame them for asking. the government tells them, they have to pay a share of certain social services and medical
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expenses and in tough economic times like these, they just don't have the money. unfortunately, neither does washington. then while states are currently seeking aid from congress, we're busy creating this new unfunded mandate set to hit states beginning in 2017 and when would that one be addressed? 2018, 2019, sometimes later? talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing? now, i've been asking, why not now deal with that in this health reform legislation and change the paradigm from unfunded mandates and do it in a different way? just last week we learned how big this unfunded mandate would be. the congressional budget office estimated that covering the medicaid expansion costs for all states would cost the federal government $35 billion. that means the congress was about to pass a $35 billion
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unfunded federal mandate onto the states, until i got rid of t let me say that again. congress was about to send a $35 billion bill to the states until i blew the whistle. we need to stop this madness of passing these fiscal time bombs onto the states, and i'd hope my colleagues on the bipartisan and a bicameral basis would work with me to make sure that congress stops passing unfunded mandates of any kind onto the states. and that the governors will join in also. they certainly don't like washington telling them how to spend state money. now i would hope people would put aside the spin, the partisan talking points, and misrepresentation they've heard in this issue, including the media. i hope people would stop citing the inaccurate interpretation of it as an excuse to avoid working for health reform that provides coverage to millions of americans who today don't have insurance and lower costs to all
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other americans who pay ever-rising costs for health care. i also hope we could stop the paragraph washington -- which are truly bad for every single state, not just mine, from sea to shining sea. mr. president, with that, i'd yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the senatel proceed to executive
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session to consider the following nomination. the clerk: nomination, t rosannf washington to be united states district judge of the eastern district of washington. the presiding officer: under the previous the time until 6:00 will be equally divided between the senator from vermont, mr. leahy, and the senator from alabama, mr. sessions. mr. sessions: mr. president, we're about to vote on the nomination of rosanna peterson to the eastern -- to the district court of the eastern district of washington. i'm pleased to be able to support that nomination as i have for most of the nominations that president obama has submitted. i think that we're moving in a rather expeditious way for the judge confirmation process for federal judges. less than a week ago we
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confirmed beverly martin to serve on the federal court of appeals. and, frankly, the failure to confirm her before christmas was the democratic leadership, for some reason, would not bring her nomination up. and i cleared it on our side on several different occasion to make sure that there were no objections. but at any rate she was confirmed and she's now on that bench. and before the recess, we confirmed two judges, 70 united states attorneys, and five u.s. marshals. we are moving faster than previously as -- or at least in -- in comparative -- in compared to president bush's tenure. this chart would show where we are on average days to confirm. president bush's circuit court nominees waited an average of 350 days to confirmation. president obama's nominations
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are being confirmed in about 4 1/2 months faster. a good bit faster. in addition the judiciary committee has held hearings for every single one of these nominees. i would show this chart. it shows that during president bush's tenure, it was 350 days. president obama's, a little over 200 days. that's -- president clinton's was -- was pushing 250. under 250. and the others in the past were quicker. but these are lifetime appointments. we've had some more intense scrutiny of nominees, which i think is proivment but most of the mom -- appropriate. but most of the nominees are coming through well and should move on to confirmation at a reasonable pace. and i think we are meeting that and we hope to continue to do so. but i would just note that if a judge who's about to obtain a
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lifetime appointment fails to convince members of the senate that they are committed to faithfully following the law, being a new -- neutral umpire, not favoring one side in the ballgame over the other. if -- if they fail to do that, then they shouldn't be confirmed. or if they have other weaknesses such as lack of skill, demonstrated bias or lack of background and ability, then i think they should be examined closely and not confirmed. on the district court nominees, you can see that president obama's district court nominees coming in -- are coming in a little over 100 days per nominee. whereas president bush's was at 180. and president clinton was about 130. so president obama is doing well there. pretty close to president bush 1
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nominations were moving forward. so i just say, mr. president, i'm pleased with this nominee. i think she does have the skills an gifts necessary to -- and gifts necessary to be a good federal judge. i hope so. and she has the support of her senators. and the -- has been moved through committee. and i believe she will be confirmed when we vote in a few moments, and i would urge my colleagues to support her nomination. i would yield the floor. and note the absence of a quorum. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: i suggest further proceedings on the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the question occurs on the nomination. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that we go out of executive session and i be allowed to speak for up to three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, in just a few minutes, as soon as i finish my remarks, we'll move to vote on the judge. this will be the 10,000th vote of arlen specter. i congratulate our distinguished colleague, senator specter, as he is about to cast his 10 thouth vote as a senator. he is only the 30th senator to reach this number, five digits. i have known senator specter for more than a quarter of a century. i have read his book. the book on his life is really a remarkably impressive travel through his political career. he was a crime fighter as a district attorney, but as far as lawyers go, it's -- the specter genes are pretty good.
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the largest judgment in the history of the state of nevada was by -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order, please. mr. reid: in the history of the state of nevada was a judgment that his son received. his son is really a prominent trial lawyer. nevada knows the specter name for more than arlen. arlen has always been a man of honor and integrity and a tremendous public servant. the state of pennsylvania, of course, is home to some of our nation's most significant political history -- the declaration of independence, the constitution was drafted in senator specter's hometown in philadelphia. no one has served that state in the united states senate longer than senator specter. so i congratulate my friend arlen specter on making this historic milestone, and it will make pennsylvania proud. he has -- no one that i served with in the senate has a better legal mind than arlen specter.
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we always look to him when there is a complex legal issue to come and give one of his renowned statements, and so i -- i'm sorry to hold everybody here, but i wanted this night not to go forward without saying about our friend, arlen specter. the presg oicer: the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the nomination is confirmed.the evious order, the motion is reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, the president shall be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. mr. casey: mr. president e presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i rise tonight to speak of my colleague, senator arlen specter, who tonight passed his 10,000th vote as a member of the united states senate. so we watched history tonight. and sometimes when we have a chance to witness history, of course, we look forward to his many more votes but also to look -- look behind us at some of his
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own personal political history but as well as his service here in the u.s. senate. i'll offer a few remarks tonight about his service. i can say that after knowing him for many, many years -- and especially after serving with him for now more than three years -- i can say, if you go down that list of votes, all those roll call votes over many years serve the people of pennsylvania, he's had one priority with those votes: those votes were cast on behalf of the people of pennsylvania. he has always been an independent voice for the people of our state. he's fought a lot of battles for the people of pennsylvania. and i know the people of our commonwealth are proud of his service. his public service began after he became a lawyer. he went to the university of pennsylvania and then to yale law school and then eventually joined the district attorneys' office in philadelphia. he rose through that office and became the district attorney of
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philadelphia, elected twice and served eight years. he was elected to the united states senate in 1980 and was reelected five times -- or four time, aim sorry, after that. so those years of service as a united states senator. and of course it is more than about years and about votes. it's certainly about the substance of those votes, fighting those battles, whether it was for the veterans of pennsylvania. we've had a million or more veterans for many, many years in our state. those who fought our wars, those who worked in our factories, those who went on to build pennsylvania, gave their first measure of devotion to the country fighting on battle felteds. he's always fought for them, chaired the veterans' committee here in the senate, and continues those battles on behalf of the veterans of
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pennsylvania. on health care, we could talk for a long time about the battles he's fought over and over again, not only the battles he fought in the last year or two as the issue was being debated here in the senate, but especially battles he fought over many years, battles on behalf of children and women, battles for health care for the vulnerable, those who were poor, and may not have a strong advocate other than their senator or member of congress. so he's fought battles on health care. you could isolate a lot of different issues under that general heading, but one that comes to mind for me is the national institutes of health. no one that i know of in the united states senate has fought more battles for the national institutes of health - and all f their research that comes from the great work done there and all the cures, all of the ways that people are saved because of
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that research at any. -- at n.i.h. the battles that he's fought on job creerks not only to preserve and -- on job creation, not only to preserve and protect the jobs during the recession, like the one we have been suffering through, but battles over many years, battles for the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, battles to make sure that jobs are kept in pennsylvania instead of going overseas or somewhere else. he's fought those battles to protect our workers and our jobs. battles about national defense, making sure that we're doing everything possible to keep the people of our commonwealth and our country safe from foreign enemies, safe from terrorists, and safe from those who seek to do us harm. over many years, arlen specter has cast those votes as well, keeping us safe and keeping us
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strong. his independence a something that is critically -- his independence is something that is critly important to any state, especially a state like pennsylvania. we have a state of over 12 million people. we have a lot of different regions in our state, a lot of different constituencies and a lot of different challenges all across the state. what the people of pennsylvania expect their senator or senators to do is to try to fight their best, to remain an independent voice for them, not for some special interest in washington. and arlen specter has done that for years, being that strong, consistent, independent voice for the people of our state. he has had a strong sense of justice from the time that he was a young lawyer through his service as a prosecutor, making sure that our streets were safe in philadelphia, and really what he's done here in the united states senate, fighting battles for justice every day of his service here in the senate.
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and finally, in a very broad sense, but a very important sense, not only when times were tough -- like they are now economically -- but even when times seemed good, even when the budgets are better and people don't seem to be as concerned about what the federal government can do to help them through a difficult period, even in those times of prosperity, he has always fought for our workers and for our families. so it's very easy for me to stand here as someone who has watched him over the years in his service in the senate and now as someone who has served with him for more than three years, it is very easy for me to say without any effort at all that those 10,000 votes that he has cast have been votes on behalf of the people of pennsylvania, and i believe for the best interests of the people of united states of america. so i want to commend arlen on that tremendous vote total. i want to commend him also for his public service, his enduring
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public service for the people of pennsylvania, and i also want to commend his family, who i know has supported him, his wife joan and his pief for many, many years -- and his family for many, many years to make sure he could serve the pennsylvania. mr. specter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator pennsylvania. mr. specter: i thank my distinguished colleague, senator case circumstance for those very generous -- senator casey, for those very generous remarks. he and i have worked together for the past three-plus years, but beyond that, we have worked during his tenure as a statewide officeholder as auditor general and treasurer of the commonwealth of pennsylvania, and i have not only worked with robert casey jr., but i worked with robert casey sr., his distinguished father, who was governor of the state. and while we were waiting for
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the train to arrive, this is an unusual evening in the senate because the acela was late and had a number of senators coming from new york and points north. and the train was about an hour late, so the vote was kept open for their arrival, and we had a chance to reminisce about some of our experiences in the past when i first met his father as a young state senator, a candidate for governor, when i was district attorney of philadelphia, and reminiscing about a controversial report that his father, as auditor general, made in 1970 on welfare problems, and it was very controversial. and although we were in
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different parties at that time, i backed up auditor general casey because i was d.a., and i knew that he was right. and when his father was governor, i was a frequent recipient of calls on the need for some assistance for pennsylvania, and the answer was always "yes." so i'm delighted to be his colleague in the senate, and i thank him for those remarks. while waiting for the past hour, i have been reflecting on the 10,000 votes that i have cast. i just said to senator casey, gave me a unique time where i had nothing else to do except to wait for some senators to arrive to vote on the late train. and i have made some notes about those reflections, and since there -- senator menendez arrived on the train and has
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some comments to make, and i told him i would yield to him. and when he has finished his statement, in the absence of any other senator seeking recognition, i intend to reflect on those 10,000 votes. so people who think c-span is about to go off, if you're interested, wait. i again thank senator casey and defer to my colleague, the senator from -- the distinguished senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, let me first of all thank my distinguished colleague from pennsylvania for yielding before he reflects on the history of his 10,000 votes and i'm sure they are many of great, great consequence that he cast that he's going to reflect upon. i want to echo my colleague from pennsylvania as well, senator casey's comment comments about r
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specter. ail only focused on two points of the many he mentioned. one is the national institutes of health. the reality is, arle arlen specs advocacy and passion, partly from his own personal experience where he's had to overcome some of his own personal health challenges, has given him a real understanding of what the national institutes of health are all about and what it means. and his advocacy and work in has made a huge difference in the lives of literally millions of people across in country, based on the research that's done there that ultimately can save a life or enhance a life. that's a legacy that any one of us in the united states would want to give. and secondly, the other thing i respect about senator specter is that when he has had to cross the aisle in order to make sure that he stood on behalf of the people of pennsylvania and the nation's best interests, he did that. and nowadays that's a lot more difficult to find. and senator specter has a
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history of crossing the aisle when it is necessary on behalf of the people of pennsylvania to stand by their side, and that did not impede him from moving to whomever he could, with whomever he could in this body and with administrations, both present and past, in order to achieve those goals. and i want to salute anymore that respect. -- and i want to salute him in that respect. mr. president, i appreciate senator specter letting me have a few minutes here on an incredibly important issue. i rise in support of the nomination to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit a distinguished juris from new jersey george joseph a. greenaway jr., who seems to be blocked by some people in this chamber, yet unknown. i know it is not from my side of the iecialtion because i've checked. so it's on the republican side of the aisle. yet judge greenaway fully
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embodies the respect for justice and the rule of law that we demand of all of our judges. he has strong bipartisan support and his nomination could easily have been taken care of this evening but for a few republicans blocking the vote. so i say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, end the obstructionism. do what's right. let us have a vote on this eminently qualified, noncontroversial nominee. it is clear that the obstruction of this nomination is not about this nominee. he's eminently qualified. i will a talk about that in a moment. and it's not about what's right for this nation. it's certainly not about acting in the best interest of a badly overburdened federal judicial system. in fact, oddly enough, it is
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tbhot it is not -- it is not about ideology. it is not even about judge greenaconveaway or the other sen nominees that our friends are blocking. it is about the politics of having this president and this congress fail, the politics of "no," the politics of obstruction, of stopping any progress on any issue and almost every nominee. mr. president, our friends on the other side came to the floor in the last administration, the administration of president bush, on countless occasions to argue for an up-or-down vote. i heard that many times. "give us an up-or-down vote." demanding that a simple majority of the president's -- on the president's nominees is all that's needed; a simple majority of this chamber. this is a position diametrically
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opposed to their position today. in fact, they went so far at that time to proclaim that filibusters of the president's nominations were unconstitutional, and they threatened what became known then as the nuclear option, to undo the right of senators to filibuster a nominee. well, which is it? what do my friends on the other side believe is right? or is the question: what do they believe will work? where is the call for an up-or-down vote now from our republican colleagues? where is the argument on the unconstutionality of filibusters now? you can't have it both ways. we can agree to disagree on some nominees on principle -- and we have -- over the years. but the numbers this year belie any notion that the obstruction
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of judge greeneaway and all of the pending nominees are purely a matter of principle. in this past year, our republican colleagues have obstructed virtually all of the president's nominees, confirming only 12 federal circuit and district court nominees, the lowest number in a half-century. let me repeat that again: the lowest number in a half-century. contrast that to the 100 judicial nominees confirmed in the 17 months that chairman leahy chaired the judiciary committee during the bush administration. as chairman leahy has pointed out on this floor, in december of 2001, the first year of george w. bush's administration, senate democrats confirmed 10 of president bush's nominees in december alone, leaving only
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four nominations on the calendar. in the first year. and all four of those nominees were confirmed soon after the senate returned the following year, in 2002. in stark contrast, this past december our republican colleagues left -- left -- 10 judicial nominees without senate action and insisted on returning two of them to the president for renomination. i urge my colleagues to reconsider, to end this obstructionism and allow this body to exercise its constitutional authority of advice and consent and confirm the nomination of joseph a. greenaway to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit. he's eminently qualified and deserves consideration. let me close on that. at the age of 40, justice greenaway was appointed by then president clinton to the federal bench where he served for over a
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dozen year with distinction. by the way, he got put through by unanimous consent. it wasn't even -- there was a unanimous consent of the chamber when he was put on the federal bench. he got through unanimously out of the judiciary committee for this position on the appellate division. unanimous out of the committee. joegreen away earned a bachelors of arts in columbia university where he was awarded with the john j. award in 2003. he was an earl warren legal scholar at harvard university. he clerked for the late hofpb rabble vincent pwrod rick for the southern district of new york. he became an assistant u.s. attorney in new york and received a promotion to become chief of the narcotics bureau. in the private sector he was an associate with the firm of cramer, levin, nessen and konkel.
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he's got incredible background. he's chair emeritus of the columbia college black alumni council. currently he is an adjunct professor at the cardozo school of law and at columbia college where he teaches courses on trial practice and a seminar on the supreme court. this is merely judge greeneaway's resume in one way, a distinguished resume to say the least but it does not do justice to the man. there is an inscription over the tenth street entrance to the department of justice. it reads this way. justice in the life and conduct of the state is is possible only as it first resides in the hearts and souls of men. the two qualities of justice do indeed reside in the heart and soul of judge greeneaway, and he deserves a vote. he grew up in harlem in the northeast bronx. he is accomplished and successful.
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he's also given much back. he's been instrumental in mentoring students and graduates often taking them under his wing as law clerks and fellows. he once said -- and i quote -- "i tell my students to work hard and smart. our profession requires a drive to search for perfection. without that goal mediocrity becomes the norm." he's always strived for excellence and taught young lawyers to do the same. judge greeneaway respects the law. all that joe greenaway for justice served, for honor and decency, the qualities and qualifications that brought him to this place in his career, for his years of service and his judicial temperament, for his respect for the constitution and precedence. for the fact that justice does indeed reside in the heart and soul of this man. for the fact that he was manual passed out of the judiciary
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committee and previously to become a district court judge got the unanimous consent of this body. and somehow, despite all of that history and all of that qualification, there are colleagues on the republican side of the aisle holding up this nominee. i urge my colleagues to end the obstructionism and to give us a vote up and down. and i know when we get that vote that judge joseph a. greenaway will be confirmed to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit. and i will continue to come to the floor to dramatize this challenge. we cannot have a set of circumstances under which the judiciary be labors especially with eminently qualified bipartisan candidates because there are those who want to see this president or this congress fail. it's about the nation, not failing. it's about our judicial system not failing. not about the politics of obstructionism. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. senator from pennsylvania.
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mr. specter: mr. president, as i had commented a few moments ago, i thanked senator casey for the comments he made about my 10,000th vote and said that i would be speaking at the conclusion. but i yielded to the senator from new jersey because my speech will be somewhat longer. and senator lautenberg has come to the floor. i don't want to keep him for a lengthy speech. i will be glad to yield. if i may inquire how long the senator from new jersey will take? mr. lautenberg: about ten minutes. ten minutes would be, i think, more than adequate. mr. specter: i yield to the senator from new jersey. i called some family, to be very personal about it: wife, sister, aunt. i don't want them to think i'm not going to speak. but for ten minutes i'll yield.
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mr. lautenberg: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. lautenberg: i thank my colleague from pennsylvania. i congratulate him for having cast 10,000 votes. we all know senator specter so well that we know that 10,000 votes cast by him carried 10,000 thoughtful decisions. he's a lawyer of distinction and came to this senate and was accorded respect for his views. we have often listened to debates where senator specter participated, and his views were always, always respected by others and carried much weight. he and i have gotten along over the years very, very well. and i was pleased to see him
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have the courage to switch parties because of his belief in his -- how this body ought to function and we congratulate him for that as well. the only disagreement we had is whether or not the football team -- philadelphia, the eagles -- are more loved by people in the southern part of our state of new jersey or whether their loyalty is better appreciated by those from pennsylvania. it depends with me on what the record is. i'm sorry. excuse me. but we -- it's a pleasure to be serve with senator specter. i am somewhat behind him for the number of votes cast, but it
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isn't easy, and particularly when i'm asked: what was the vote 8,003 that you cast? i said, well, i'll have to check the record. thousands of votes are a lot of votes, require a lot of decision making. once again i congratulate senator specter for his good decision-making. tonight i want to highlight something that my colleague, senator menendez, talked about and get on with the business of this senate. defining what takes place in this body, this place of the people that says that we shouldn't move quickly.
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we shouldn't move, period, on decisions of matter because politically our colleagues on the other side are determined to do whatever they can to bring down this administration's ability to function, and including the majority ability to function. i rise to talk about a target that the republican friends here have in their sight, and that's joseph -- judge joseph a. greenaway jr. of new jersey. he exemplifies the dreams that so many have about what can be accomplished in life. he's the son of a nurse and a carpenter. he rose from humble beginnings to attend columbia university and harvard law school.
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judge greeneaway is a well-qualified judge, served on our district court for over a decade with distinction. his credit -- his credentials and qualifications are beyond reproach, and there is no opposition to his nomination to the third circuit court. and yet, the republicans blocked the the vote -- not cast the vote -- blocked a vote on his confirmation tonight. it's unconscionable. let the senate make its decision. those on the other side who don't want to vote for him, let them say so. let them say it in a vote. but, no, they insist on tying things up, that's been the matter of things here for sometime since president obama has taken over. and this man in our country deserves better than the we're seeing. some of us in this chamber
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waeupl to congress to move -- came to congress to move the country forward, to say that we're so grateful to this nation of ours that we want to make sure -- and i speak for myself, i'm not sure i speak for others -- that we're so grateful that the opportunities that befell us and our families and -- i speak from personal experience, from parents who were brought as immigrants when they were infants and had the opportunity to do well in business for a number of years and come here and be here 25 years. i want to do this job because i want to help people. i know what it was like to be deprived resource, and it's painful. i saw it through my entire childhood. my father died when he was 43, without any insurance, without any help from the government to help my mother carry on while i was in the army.
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unfortunately, republican colleagues have a different agenda. they're focused on bringing this chamber to a standstill. they're focused on delaying and stopping progress on nearly every issue. the filibuster used to be reserved for the most controversial issues and was meant to allow enough time for debate. and now it is being abused. hijacked by republicans who are more interested in political and procedural games than in legislating. we've seen it in the health care bill when wowrch colleagues on the other -- when one of our colleagues on the other side who said if they can defeat the health care bill that president obama produced with a -- with the congress, that they will have presented the waterloo to president obama's career. terrible to have that kind of attitude. serve the people. forget about stopping things. talk about them.
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come out here on the floor and say why you don't want to help people. that's what we're talking about. today we see an example of the simplest form. republicans have used the filibuster over 100 times since the start of the congress. they used to block legislation including health care reform, funding for our troops and even help for our surrenders. they're using it to block well-qualified judges from serving on the federal bench. filibustering led to the lowest confirmation of judicial nominations in 50 years. the republicans are sitting on their hands to block the senate from considering qualified nominees for months on end. last week we had a vote on the confirmation of beverly martin to serve on the circuit court of appeals she was unanimously supported in the judiciary committee and forced to wait over four months on the senate
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calendar for no good reason except to chalk up another victory over progress. what was the final vote on her confirmation, mr. president? 97-0. wouldn't let us vote, but there was a willingness to have everyone in the chamber vote for her. no opposition. not a single dissenter. once again we're witnessing a judge being caught in the cross hairs of the party of no. the judge greenaway was nominated to serve on the third circuit and voted unanimously out of the judiciary committee. hainsd nomination has lang -- and his nomination has languished for nearly four months. he is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent addition to the bench. judge greenaway started in public solves as -- as an
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assistant attorney newark, new jersey. he distinguished for prosecuting bank fraud before being picked to head the narcotics division. since 1996, he served on the u.s. district court in newark. an in his tenure, he's demonstrated his firm commitment that we want to see in our judges, fairness, ecty, justice. and these are the same values that will make him a success on the third circuit court of appeals. judge greenaway has spent his career protecting new jerseyians and their rights. that's why the american bar association, his peers, rated him unanimously well qualified for this position much that's why it is so incomprehensible to understand why they insist on not permitting us a vote. let us vote. maybe -- maybe he won't -- won't be accepted by the senate. let us vote.
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my gosh. and so we ought to confirm him without further delay. ed third circuit court has a vacancy that needs to be filled. there is a noncouldn't versal, well-qualified judge waiting and anxious to serve. i call on my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, stop their obstructionism and let this vote move forward. i i thank my colleague from pennsylvania. and i yield the floor. fice the senator from pennsylvania. mr. specter: mr. president, as i had said earlier i intended to make some comments following the speech by senator casey on my 10,000th vote and i have since deferred to senator menendez and senator lautenberg. i have been asked by the
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administrators to make some unanimous consent requests before i speak instead of after so that the clerks can go about their business and go home. so, as i mentioned, i told some family members that i was going to speak, wife, sister, pat. so it's coming, but, first, some other business of the senate. on behalf of the leader, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to 10 minutes each. i think this one is outdated. i withdraw that request. i certainly don't want to be limited to 10 minutes after waiting this long. on behalf of the leader, mr. president, i ask consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of s.2949 introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk
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will report. the clerk: s. 1949, a bill to amend section 1113 of the social security act and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: if there is no objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. specter: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the bill be read three times passed and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table be laid upon the table. that any statements relating thereto appear at the appropriate place in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. specter: mr. president, on behalf of the leader i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. 2950. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2950, a bill to extend the pilot program for volunteer groups to obtain criminal history background checks. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure.
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mr. specter: i ask consent that the bill be read three times passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the bill be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. specter: on behalf of the leader, i ask consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. re 373the presidik will report. the clerk: senate resolution 373, designating the month of february 2010 as national teen dating violence awareness andpr. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. specter: i ask consent that the resolution be agreed to, the amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. specter: on behalf of the leader, i ask consent that the committee on armed services be
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discharged from s. res. 395.wil. the clerk: s. res. 395, resolution commemorating the 150th anniversary of theng of t. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged. and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. specter: i ask consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, no intervening action or debate and statements relating to the resolution be placed in the record. mr. durbin: will the senator yield? mr. specter: i will. mr. durbin: i would ask to say a few words to the senator from pennsylvania and ask that my remarks be placed in the record near his 10,000th vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i want to congratulate him on his 10,000th vote in the united states. he's been a colleague of mine
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now for my 13 years that i served in the senate and i've enjoyed working with him. occasionally we have been on opposite sides of an issue and at times we've been on the same side. i much prefer the latter. he's an able attorney. a thoughtful and reflective member of the united states senate. i've enjoyed my service with him. i congratulate him on his 10,000th vote and i am particularly pleased that he cast his vote from this side of the senate. i look forward to working with senator specter. i thank the people of pennsylvania for giving us an opportunity to work with him and to serve in this public service for many years. mr. specter: i thank the distinguished senator from illinois for those kind remarks. we have worked together i think very harmoniously. on occasions where we voted differently, it was falls the spirit of collegiality. one personal note, he and i are
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frequenters of the senate gym. i arrive at 6:30 a.m., and he's already been there for a while. he's a robust athlete in addition to being a great assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: if the senator would yield. i tell people i go to the senate gym for no apparent reason. but i thank him for his kind words. mr. specter: i ask that the appointments at the desk appear separately at the desk as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. specter: and now, mr. president, i've come to the point where no other senator is seeking recognition. and we've expedited the work of the clerk. and i'm going to make a statement reflecting on the 10,000th vote. the circumstances are somewhat unusual. i cast the vote and expect to depart the chamber, but i found
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my distinguished colleague, senator casey, prepared to make some comments about my 10,000th vote. but he could not make those comments for about an hour because the train was late. and some senators hadn't arrived. the vote was kept open. so in a very unusual situation for me, personally, i had nothing to do but to sit and think. and i was reflecting upon the 10,000 votes, and that's what i'm going to talk about now. and i would not expect the senator from illinois to stay to listen to this because it might delay his arrival at the gym, which is very early tomorrow morning. i will be there at about 6:30 a.m., and i don't know how long he will have been there, but for quite a while. thank you, senator durbin. the occasion of reflecting on
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10,000 votes in the united states senate is something i've been thinking about for the past hour plus as we awaited senators to arrive to vote and then having yielded to two other senators. and i thought about why i got into public life. why i decided to run for office. and that's hard to say. but i believe it was at the inspiration of my parents. my story is a common one. immigrant parents. a father -- my father served in world war i, was wounded in action in the argon force, carried shrapnel in his legs until the day he died and one of the veterans promised a $500 bonus and the government reneged
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on the promise. did not pay the veterans' bonus as the government reneges on many promises to the veterans much there was a famous march on washington during the hoover administration when i was a child. and president hoover called out the army and they fired on veterans and killed veterans. one of the blackest days in american history. and i think that event as a young child was emblazed in my mind and i saw how the deep anguish of my father and mother, too -- this was in the depression. and my father had always had a very deep concern about government because he lived under the tyranny of the czar. and the czar wanted to send him to siberia when he was 18 years old in 1911 and he immigrated to the united states.
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and i think that experience motivated me to want to go into public life. and i always had a very deep concern about civil liberties as a member of a minority group, myself, to be able to deal with that issue in a governmental capacity. the 10,000 votes have come and gone in a -- in a hurry. and i was reflecting on the reagan years. i was elected in 1980, the same day that president reagan was elected. and there are many highlights of the tenure during his eight years. but i think especially about september 17, 1987. and that's an easy day to remember because it marked the 200th anniversary of the signing of the constitution of the united states.